Clams Casino - Instrumental Relics Music Album Reviews

This collection gathers the cloud-rap pioneer’s earliest and most seminal recordings, in danger of being lost to the digital ether.

“Cloud rap” has been so absorbed into hip-hop’s identity that it’s hard to remember when it was subversive and new. The title of the latest installment in Clams Casino’s long-running beat-tape series implies that the tracks have been scavenged and preserved, like fading artifacts of a forgotten epoch. Michael Volpe wasn’t the only producer weaving ambient textures into trap beats at the start of the last decade—an era where experimental artists like Shlohmo and Evian Christ collaborated with the likes of Kanye and Drake—but few artists were linked as closely with the subgenre.
Clams’ influence on hip-hop has remained at the elemental level; his work with rappers like Lil B, A$AP Rocky, and Soulja Boy truly shifted the sonic window. Without Clams, it’s hard to imagine Yung Lean or Drain Gang, and rap’s ongoing infatuations with the alternative rock spectrum might not be so passionate either. Clams was out there sampling Thursday in 2011, and now he works alongside a new generation who would probably not be making music without his influence: Lil Peep, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, Ghostemane, and Nedarb, who credits “I’m God” as the beat that made him want to start producing.
Instrumental Relics contains many of Clams’ most notable early collaborations (Soulja Boy’s “All I Need,” A$AP Rocky’s “Numb”), as well as three tracks from his Rainforest EP on the late Tri Angle records (“Treetop,” “Drowning,” “Gorilla”), an original cut from the Grand Theft Auto V soundtrack (“Crystals”), and a handful of other strays. Most were previously available and have only been remastered here, but “I’m God”—the definitive Clams Casino recording—can now be officially streamed as a standalone piece of music for the very first time. The instrumental’s unforgettable sample has gone from an unapproved flip to a full-fledged feature, with Imogen Heap credited alongside Clams Casino.

“I’m God” was instantly iconic, immediately imitated, and impossible to recreate. Like Clams’ most haunting work, it decays and disintegrates inside your eardrum, more like a Burial composition than what you’d normally expect to hear Soulja Boy rapping over—the kind of thing I wish Mark Fisher had gotten to write about. For all its innovation and ethereality, there’s something timeless about “I’m God,” with drum programming that skews more boom-bap than trap, betraying Clams’ roots in New Jersey and his love of the East Coast’s classics — one of his first collaborations was with Havoc of Mobb Deep.

Clams Casino emerged around the same time as witch house, a phenomenon his ectoplasm-laced compositions were often linked to. There’s no smeared eyeliner or guest appearances from Robert Smith, but it’s easy to see Clams as a slightly more uptempo kin to Salem and Pictureplane, not just in the general chilliness of his sound, but in the strong gothic undertone to his early work—that aesthetic sense of haute morbidity is maybe most evident on “Unchain Me,” an instrumental from Lil B’s I’m Gay (I’m Happy) that flips “Cry Little Sister,” Gerard McMann’s theme from The Lost Boys. Clams erodes vocals with waves of reverb and decay, like choirs crying with their mouths sewn shut, but the sample here sings out with a euphoric clarity.

On his most distinctive tracks, Clams utterly destroys the human voice — fragments of human speech frozen into glass panes, fractured with echo and PaulStretch, and played backwards before being reverbed into oblivion. Clams’ approach to sampling is really only one degree away from the contemporaneous Daniel Lopatin’s Chuck Person’s Eccojams Vol. 1, a similar experiment in a more genre-friendly package. The sample on “Motivation” is like a found-footage videotape, an inscrutable object drenched in snow and noise. There were words there once, but they’ve been manipulated into a murky pool of pure texture. I know that I could go to WhoSampled and very easily found out the source of those haunting vibrations, but I’d rather entertain the mystery.

As the 2010s recede, it’s increasingly apparent that some of the last decade’s most influential rap music was incompatible with the decade’s most significant shift in music technology: the advent of an endless stream of digital music that can only be accessed and never owned, a gated and guarded community that only so much inventiveness and copyright infringement can slip through. The history of hip-hop’s blog years is written in dead Mediafire links, removed MySpace pages, and uncleared samples. It’s heartbreaking to consider how many SpaceGhostPurrp loosies have been lost to virtual erosion, how much Playboi Carti music vanished when he became a label-sanctioned star and management AstroTurfed his online presence, how nobody remembers who Main Attrakionz are anymore. Beyond the sound itself, Instrumental Relics is vital because it ensures, at least for now, that these instrumentals won’t become relics.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Clams Casino - Instrumental Relics Music Album Reviews Clams Casino - Instrumental Relics Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 Rating:

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